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Providing a Cooler Future for Duke

By District Energy posted 09-16-2020 13:23


Duke Today


With around 15 miles of pipes running through university and hospital buildings, Duke’s vast chilled water system works constantly to keep campus cool. And as campus has grown in recent years, that job has only gotten bigger.

For proof, you need only look at Chiller Plant No. 3 plant, which opened this summer to keep up with the demand.

“It was a complex project, compared to an office building, because you’ve got a lot of giant pipes going through there,” said Duke Facilities Management Project Manager Steve Carrow, who oversaw the project. “We’re plugging it into a larger system so it has to work in harmony with the other plants.”

Duke’s chilled water system provides efficient cooling by shooting 39-degree water through a looped campus-wide network of pipes laced through the buildings of the university and medical campus. This approach uses considerably less energy than having each individual building rely on its own air conditioning system.

Chiller Plant No. 3 will help handle the cooling needs of Duke University Hospital’s new 490,000-square foot bed tower, which opens in summer of 2021.

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